A 12 year-old boy from Des Moines, Iowa loves Irish dance, but some of the kids at his school were bullying him about his unusual hobby. Then, thanks to a chance tweet sent by his mom, everything changed.
Carl Tubbs has been practicing and performing in Irish dance competitions for the past four years. He often practiced during recess, prompting some kids to say mean things to him. Carl told ABC News, “Mostly they’d just give me a hard time, saying, ‘Oh, that’s for girls, and that I wasn’t supposed to be doing Irish dance because only girls to do that.”
One day his mom, Joanne Tubbs, was online when she saw a story about an NFL player who uses Irish dancing to train for the game. Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins uploaded a video of himself dancing to his Instagram page along with the caption, “The secret to quick feet? Irish dance.”
Alex had been introduced to Irish dancing by a daughter of his high school football coach, and he continued to use the sport to train. Joanne was thrilled to see a professional athlete who shared Carl’s hobby, so she decided to reach out to him on Twitter.
“I didn’t really expect to hear back and all of a sudden my notifications were sort of blowing up,” Joanne said.
Alex saw the tweet and replied, and before long Joanne was in touch with his manager. The family bought tickets to go to a Ravens game in nearby Minnesota, and Alex’s manager arranged for them to meet the NFL star.
“Knowing that a player this good also does Irish dance is pretty inspiring,” Carl said. “It’s boosted my confidence so much. I feel like I can do anything and no one can stop me.”
Alex met with the Tubbs family and even signed a few footballs for them.
After meeting Alex, Carl says that the bullying at school has not only stopped, but a few of the kids have even apologized to him.
Carl says that the biggest lesson that he learned from this experience is to keep being himself and pursuing his interests no matter what anybody says about it. “There are going to be times that are rough but just keep moving on,” Carl said. “Find someone that you can look up to and hopefully be them someday.”
Watch their emotional meeting below, and don’t forget to share this story to inspire others!